15
August , 2018
Wednesday

Forum Highlights Challenges and Persistent Inequities Facing the African American Community African Americans across the Country ...
CHICAGO, IL  -  To commemorate a life of service, the 4th annual Whitney M. Young, Jr. ...
Colorado Springs and Boise businesses gave their cities highest grades in Kauffman Foundation/Thumbtack.com ...
The IVI-IPO, a voice of good government, social justice and working-class issues for more than ...
Disenfranchisement News (A reprint from The Sentencing Project) Florida   Voting rights changes could swing 2012 election   In a New ...
  The National Urban League Wire   Against the backdrop of partisan budget wrangling and an uncertain future ...
CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-8th) Chicago, held a press ...
CHICAGO, IL – Transit riders rejoiced as Red Line service on the CTA’s south branch ...
  (Northwestern News)   EVANSTON, IL -  Unlike most whites, blacks and Hispanics tend to have neighbors from other ...
CHICAGO, IL - A reception honoring Mrs. Bonita M. Herring, the recently re-elected ...

Archive for the ‘Living/Views’ Category

Mayoral Ally Moves to Privatize Substitute Teachers

Posted by Admin On April - 27 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

Senate President Cullerton fast-tracks privatization bill, stalls legislation to restore CTU right to bargain on issues that include class size and school cleanliness.

 

CHICAGO, IL – The Illinois Senate, under the leadership of Chicago mayoral ally John Cullerton, has fast-tracked a bill privatizing substitute teacher staffing, SB 2838. An identical bill, HB 4742, passed out of a House education committee on Wednesday. The CTU and the IFT have opposed the initiative for the last two sessions.

“This legislation is tone deaf given CPS’ disastrous track record with privatization,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “It will allow CPS to contract out classroom-critical services, likely for less pay – just as has been the experience of privatized charter teachers and janitors in CPS – to the detriment of our students. And it will cost. In Indianapolis, the contracting agency slapped a 36% fee on the cost of substitute positions. The bill also fails to address the root causes of a shortage of substitute and full-time teachers – their need for a living wage and decent working conditions.”

At a recent IFT K-12 constituency council, a teacher with Chicago’s CPS-funded Acero/UNO charter network, which uses a staffing agency to assign substitute teachers, reported that the agency was ineffective and the school still suffers from a shortage of subs.

Teachers charge that the bill is also a demoralizing slap in the face to Black female educators in Chicago, who are laid off at a greater proportion by CPS than other educators – with many subsequently relying on their ability to earn at least a marginal wage as substitute teachers. Today, roughly half of CPS’ substitute teachers are people of color.

The push for third party contracting of school services is a plank in the Rauner Turnaround Agenda. While the Cullerton-controlled senate has moved swiftly to pass this bill to accelerate and expand third party contracting, the Senate has stalled a different bill to repeal Section 4.5 of the Illinois Education Labor Relations Act. That bill, HB 4776, restores bargaining rights to all units in CPS – and returns to the CTU the right to bargain on critical issues like class size and school cleanliness, just as every other district in the state must bargain.

“Third party contracting has been a failure in CPS,” said Sharkey. “Outside contractors have left our schools filthy, our facilities in dire need of repair, and concocted schemes to deny students vital services like special education. Our students are no better served by turning the vital professional service that substitute teachers provide over to an agency like Manpower or Kelly Services, when what we really need are adequately resourced classrooms and decent working conditions for educators.”

The CTU and the IFT are vigorously opposing HB 4742 in the House.

Parents, Teachers to Slam Failures of Mayor’s Appointed Board

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Filthy schools, shuttered schools’ sale to private school operators, special education scandal among issues advocates say underscore need for accountable, elected, representative school board.

 

CHICAGO, IL Parents, teachers, students and advocates have raised the alarm about a host of issues in Chicago’s public schools, from filthy schools and overcrowded classrooms to blistering state findings on deficiencies in CPS’ special education program and a high school enrollment process that critics say underscores CPS’ failed ‘choice’ model. Every one of CPS’ failings, say critics, can be walked back to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s control of CPS – from who serves as CEO to who sits on the board.

Critics will raise their concerns – and their demand for an elected, representative school board that will at last end Emanuel’s control over education policy and operations – at a press conference before CPS’ scheduled monthly board meeting, beginning at 9:30 AM on Wednesday, April 25 in front of CPS headquarters at 42 W. Madison St.

Critics point to a range of troubling issues stemming from Emanuel’s control over CPS. Emanuel’s school board has denied CPS’ overwhelmingly low-income Black and Brown youth the benefits of the state’s new equity-based funding formula, instead using ‘student-based budgeting’, or SBB – a flat per capita funding scheme that undermines the law’s intent to channel funds to schools and students most in need. The public learned earlier this month that CPS will funnel an additional $259 million to one of the companies that has left schools filthy. The Illinois State Board of Education recently found that changes implemented by Emanuel’s hand-picked schools CEO, who was forced out late last year in the wake of an ethics scandal, worsened an already understaffed and under-resourced special education program. Emanuel’s new GoCPS high school registration program locked out more than 75% of incoming freshmen from their top three school selections, when instead, say advocates, CPS should be strengthening neighborhood high schools as part of a commitment to ensure that every neighborhood has sustainable community schools.

Emanuel’s hand-picked board moved to close a highly rated elementary school serving an overwhelmingly low-income, Black student population earlier this year over vigorous public opposition and wrenching appeals from students. CPS also moved to close all of Englewood’s public high schools, which have suffered years of acute disinvestment and subsequent enrollment decline. Emanuel’s school executives continue to push school privatization, despite a growing body of evidence that charters serve students no better than public schools, while undercutting enrollment and funding for public schools. And the public learned this week that CPS has sold four neighborhood public schools shuttered in Emanuel’s 2013 mass school closings to private operators who are exploiting the state’s new voucher scheme to siphon off public dollars for private operators’ tuition costs.

“The mayor owns this legacy of failed policy – and failed leadership,” says CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey, who will speak at Wednesday’s press conference. “Under Emanuel’s control, there is no public accountability, no transparency and, frankly, no decency displayed by this rubber stamp board – only the mindless accommodation of the mayor’s wishes and the disaster that has created for our students. It’s time for that to end.”

Illinois Recognized as Top Tech Employer and for Achievement of Technology Enhancements

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – It’s Information Technology Month and the Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology (DoIT) is highlighting the state’s digital transformation and the positive impact on state operations.

The agency, established by Governor Rauner in 2016 through Executive Order, is charged with building an enterprise IT organization for the State of Illinois to improve government efficiencies through innovation, enable state agencies to more effectively serve Illinois citizens and improve the overall cybersecurity of the state.

“Our teams have made it a priority to modernize technology, so we can work smarter and protect the personal information of our hardworking citizens,“ said Governor Bruce Rauner. “Over the past couple of years, staff at DoIT has been focused on upgrading old, antiquated systems that had been neglected for decades and bringing our state into the 21st Century.”

Illinois ranks 5th in the nation when it comes to tech employment, adding more than 437,000 people to the state’s workforce and about $45 billion dollars to the state’s overall economy, according to the 2018 Cyberstates study, published by CompTIA.

DoIT teams are building a strong defense for the state, with a focus on enhancing cybersecurity and protecting sensitive information for all employees and citizens of Illinois. More than 46,000 state employees have received cyber awareness training and nearly six billion records have already been secured, as part of the State of Illinois Cybersecurity Strategy, which was released in 2017.

Through the multi-agency blockchain Initiative, DoIT worked with DCEO, DPFR and others to explore distributed ledger technology and evaluate how to capitalize on opportunities for the state. Several practical uses are being explored including health provider registries and continuing education tracking. As a result, the state received the Illinois Capital Innovation Award for Government Solutions for its advancements with blockchain in the public sector.

DoIT is also helping local jurisdictions build up their digital systems and save money through its Smart State initiatives. Earlier this year, DoIT introduced a Smart Street Lighting Program that will allow municipalities to utilize the state’s master contract to find qualified and competitive street lighting vendors to save money and offer more functionality for their communities.

“We’ve made impressive strides with advancing technology in Illinois,” said DoIT’s Acting Secretary, Kirk Lonbom. “Emerging technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and data analytics hold great promise as Illinois strives to become the first ‘Smart State’ in the nation.”

And, thanks to DoIT technicians and engineers, Illinois residents and businesses have more access to state websites and services on their mobile devices, going from mobility of only 3 percent in 2016 to over 50 percent currently.

DoIT continues on an accelerated digital transformation and modernization strategy to improve technology in Illinois. DoIT announces IT milestones that have been accomplished in Illinois, as well as what lies ahead for the state through news found on DoIT’s website.

State Rep. Mayfield Backing Legislation to Combat Illinois’ Shortage of Teachers

Posted by Admin On April - 26 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL –As a shortage of teachers continues to plague communities in all areas of Illinois, Illinois State Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, is supporting multiple legislative efforts to attract and keep educators in the state.

“Education in this state and the betterment of our children are amongst my top priorities in the legislature,” said Mayfield. “The steps we are taking in passing these important measures will reduce barriers to entry for young professionals who want to be leaders in our community.”

Mayfield voted to pass House Bill 5175, a landmark measure that ensures that teachers are paid a livable wage and aims to retain talented teachers within the state. She also has helped to move House Bills 4167, 5196 and 5627, measures that work to alleviate the pressure that teachers face by addressing Illinois’ shortage of teachers and breaking down burdensome barriers to entry. Under these proposals, teaching related fees are reduced, retired teachers are provided more flexibility to substitute teach and more experienced teachers in training would be eligible to apply for a substitute teaching license sooner. Additionally, teachers who receive their training outside of Illinois would be more easily able to transfer their qualifications to Illinois when looking for a job.

“When these proposals become reality, a lot of red tape and unnecessary hurdles will be reduced and we should see an influx of teachers to schools in our state,” said Mayfield. “Our state’s future depends on the ability to teach and retain the youth as a skilled workforce, and that isn’t possible without the hard work and dedication of good teachers.”

House Bills 4167, 5175, 5196 and 5627 passed the House Elementary and Secondary Education: Licensing, Administration and Oversight Committee and are awaiting action on the House floor.

Mayfield represents the 60th District, which includes the cities of Waukegan, North Chicago and neighboring communities.  For more information, please contact her district office at 847-599-2800 or 60thdistrict@gmail.com.

State Education Board Backs up Charges that Emanuel’s Hand-Picked School Bosses Shortchanged Special Education

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

Bombshell findings back up charges by teachers, parents, grassroots activists that mayor’s school execs wrongly denied services to schoolchildren, undermined parents and educators seeking help for students.

 

CHICAGO, IL – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s hand-picked school executives denied special education services to thousands of students, according the Illinois State Board of Education, which announced its findings at a public hearing today based on months of testimony and evidence-gathering from teachers, parents, clinicians and advocates.

“ISBE’s bombshell findings affirm what our rank and file members have been documenting about this disaster for two years,” said CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey. “Thanks to the excellent investigative work of local reporters, we know that the motivation behind CPS’ changes to special education policy was based on one overarching goal: to cut costs, no matter how catastrophic the consequences for our students. The evidence is damning and overwhelming – and clearly demonstrates once again that this mayor and his minions are unfit to serve as the bosses of this school system.”

Disgraced former CPS CEO Forrest Claypool paid politically connected contractors $14 million – roughly half of the $29 million in cuts that he made to special education during the same period – to do work that included rewriting policies and retooling the process by which parents and educators seek SPED services for students in need. Claypool’s SPED cuts dovetailed with hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts in the last six years that have driven staff shortfalls — including of social workers, teaching assistants, clinicians and school nurses who play central roles in the provision of special education services.

Emanuel tapped Claypool, one of his closest political allies, to run CPS after the previous CEO was forced out in the wake of a multi-million dollar contract kickback scheme – and Claypool defended his new SPED policies virtually until the day he, too, was forced out for ethics failings.

Claypool’s scheme resulted in the deployment of draconian and byzantine new procedures that delayed and denied services for thousands of public schoolchildren in need, according to ISBE findings and testimony and evidence from teachers, clinicians, parents and advocates.

“These findings are a victory for special education students,” said Sharkey, who argues that the data ISBE gathered represents the tip of the iceberg. “Some educators and parents couldn’t make the hearings, and others were, frankly, intimidated about testifying out of fear of retaliation on the job or against their children. ISBE’s recommendations move us in the right direction, but we will have to continue our fight to win all of the improvements that CPS students deserve.”

Teachers, school nurses, clinicians and parents joined allies that include Access Living, Equip for Equality, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, Parents 4 Teachers, Raise Your Hand and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, as well as disability rights attorney Matt Cohen, to expose failings in Emanuel’s SPED policies. Now advocates will need to keep the pressure on CPS to ensure that students get the services – and the justice – they deserve. The CTU charges that next steps must include removing Emanuel’s control over CPS’ top executives and rubber stamp board, which the mayor also appoints.

“We need accountability, transparency and responsible oversight of our public schools – and that only comes with democratic control of the school board,” said Sharkey. “It’s high time we ended the mayor’s disastrous control of our schools and his willful criminal indifference to the well-being of our students, by giving Chicagoans what our residents have demanded for years: an elected, representative school board.”

Expanded Investigation Into Multi-State E. coli Infections Linked to Romaine Lettuce

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and other state and local health departments, is expanding its investigation of a multi-state cluster of E. coli infections to include not only chopped romaine lettuce, but full heads and hearts of romaine lettuce.

Information collected to date indicates that romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region could be contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 and could make people sick.  At this time, no common grower, supplier, distributor, or brand has been identified.  However, the investigation now not only encompasses chopped romaine lettuce, but all romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region.

One case linked to the outbreak has been identified in Illinois.  To date, 53 other cases have been reported in 16 states with 31 hospitalizations and no deaths.  The central Illinois resident reported consuming chopped romaine lettuce before illness onset.

Consumers in Illinois who have store-bought romaine lettuce at home, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, should not eat it and should throw it away, even if some of it was eaten and no one has gotten sick.

If you do not know if the lettuce is romaine, do not eat it and throw it away.  Before purchasing romaine lettuce at a grocery store or eating it at a restaurant, consumers should confirm with the store or restaurant that it is not romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.  If you cannot confirm the source of the romaine lettuce, do not buy it or eat it.

Restaurants and retailers should not serve or sell any romaine lettuce, including salads and salad mixes containing chopped romaine lettuce, from the Yuma, Arizona growing region.
Restaurants and retailers should ask their suppliers about the source of their chopped romaine lettuce.

People usually get sick from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 2 to 8 days after swallowing the germ.  Most people infected with E. coli develop diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps, and vomiting.  Most people recover within one week although some illnesses can be more severe, resulting in a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Talk to your health care provider if you have symptoms of an E. coli infection and report your illness to your local health department.  You can also write down what you ate in the week before you started to get sick and talk to public health investigators if they have questions about your illness.

Democratic Party to Hold Organizational Meeting

Posted by Admin On April - 23 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Democratic Party of Illinois Chairman Michael J. Madigan announced that the party would be holding an organizational meeting for the State Central Committee on Monday, April 23 in Springfield.

“Voters in the March primary elected new members of the State Central Committee, and now it is our job to choose party officials and begin planning to elect Democrats up and down the ballot in November,” Chairman Madigan said.

The meeting will take place on Monday, April 23 at 1 p.m. in the Gallery Room on the first floor of the State House Inn, located at 101 East Adams Street in Springfield. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

The Democratic State Central Committee is composed of 36 members, one man and one woman elected from each congressional district. Each member will have a weighted vote that is equal to the number of Democratic ballots cast in their congressional district in the March 20, 2018 primary election.

Chicago Teachers Union President “Proud” of Student Walkout

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

CTU President to Students on National Student Walkout: I am so Proud of You

 

Karen Lewis: “We fight for our students every day in our school communities. Today, students are standing up with leadership and courage to fight for equity and justice.”

 

CHICAGO, April 4, 2018CTU President Karen Lewis issued the following statement in support of Chicago public school students participating in #NationalStudentWalkout actions:

“Chicago public school students stood up today against gun violence and all acts of violence that plague our city: unemployment, racism, mass incarceration and austerity. Literally thousands of our youth live with the trauma of life in a city where housing and food insecurity is just as prevalent as gun violence. These young people understand that, here in Chicago, larger dynamics drive violence: poverty, unemployment, hopelessness and the callous indifference of our mayor – indifference that mars their educations and undermines their futures. They took action with sit-ins and marches today to say ‘enough.’

“We fight for our students every day in our school communities because that’s our responsibility and our commitment to our students as educators. Today, our students are standing up with leadership and courage to fight to bring equity and real justice to our city.”

“As educators and members of school communities, we recognize what these young people understand intimately – that it is only through racial, economic and social justice that we achieve educational justice – the kind of justice that will allow our students to fulfil their potential. Our students took that message to the streets today in what is a growing movement not just against gun violence but against the root causes of violence and despair in cities like Chicago. Our union is honored to embrace and support their struggle.

This January, the Chicago Teachers Union embedded language in its constitution to promote racial, economic and social justice as the path to achieving educational justice – and embraced a commitment to build community and labor coalitions to win those goals.

Public Inquiry Report Describes Systemic Issues in CPS’s Special Education Program

Posted by Admin On April - 21 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

 

ISBE leaders to recommend next steps at May 16 Board meeting

 

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today reviewed the final report from the Public Inquiry Team appointed to examine special education services in Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The Inquiry Team found systemic problems that delayed and denied the provision of special education services to students. Policies, procedures, and systems also hindered the ability of educators and families to advocate for the services students needed.

The Public Inquiry report contains 43 findings of fact. The Inquiry Team found widespread issues with CPS’s Student Services Management (SSM) system, an electronic program that guides users through a series of fillable forms designed to develop a complete Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student, and with the procedural manuals for using the SSM. The Inquiry Team also found systemic problems with CPS’s processes for collecting data to assess students’ need for services, authorizing IEP teams’ recommendations for students, and providing transportation for students.

“We have an obligation as the leaders of public education systems to create conditions that support every single child in our care,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I deeply appreciate the full participation of all of the parties throughout this first-of-its-kind process in Illinois. This Public Inquiry allowed us to examine CPS’s special education program not just from an administrative compliance perspective but also from the view of the families and educators trying to provide students the best educational experience possible. We are encouraged that CPS has already begun taking steps to improve on the issues discussed in the report. We look forward to working together to build on CPS’s strengths and ensure all students receive the supports they need to thrive.”

ISBE General Counsel Stephanie Jones and ISBE Executive Director of Special Education Services Heather Calomese will meet with CPS and the advocates who brought the initial complaint to ISBE to develop a plan to ensure the concerns noted in the report are resolved prior to next school year. Jones and Calomese will recommend next steps at the State Board meeting on May 16 in Springfield.

ISBE initiated the state’s first-ever Public Inquiry after receiving concerns about potentially systemic issues with CPS’s special education program from families, educators, and stakeholders. The Public Inquiry process facilitates fair and transparent fact-finding on a matter of public concern, while maintaining the focus on the well-being and rights of students.

The Inquiry team held six public comment sessions, received input through a dedicated hotline, collected extensive documentation, and hosted a three-day open hearing to probe the evidence by asking questions of witnesses.

View the Public Inquiry team’s final report at https://www.isbe.net/publicinquiry.

Beyonce Announces New Homecoming Scholars Award Program for Black College Studemts

Posted by Admin On April - 18 - 2018 ADD COMMENTS

Beyonce's Homecoming Scholars Award Program

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) — Beyoncé, through her BeyGOOD initiative, has established the Homecoming Scholars Award Program for students attending Xavier University, Wilberforce University, Tuskegee University and Bethune-Cookman University – all Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Beyoncé announced the program when she made history at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival by becoming the first Black woman to headline in the festival’s 19-year run.

The show, with its homage to excellence in education, was a celebration of the homecoming weekend experience, the highest display of college pride. The energy-filled production put the spotlight on art and culture, mixing the ancient and the modern, which resonated masterfully through the marching band, performance art, choir and dance. It was the impetus to mark her second scholarship program.

One winner from each school will win a scholarship award for the academic year for study in various fields.

The Homecoming Scholars Award Program will expand to all qualifying students at the four universities, regardless of gender. The disciplines will include literature, creative arts, African- American studies, science, education, business, communications, social sciences, computer science and engineering. All applicants must maintain a 3.5 GPA or above. All finalists and winners will be selected by the universities. Winners will be announced in the summer.

The deadline for this scholarship is usually in June of each year, and the award amount is usually $25,000.

For more details and/or to apply, visit:
www.scholarshipsonline.org/2018/04/beyonce-homecoming-scholars-award.html

To view hundreds of other 2018 scholarships, visit:
www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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